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For small business owners, budgeting is necessary to understand your business’s financial health. While tracking your company’s expenses and income may seem time-consuming and complicated, there are a number of apps and software programs that make it easier for individuals and business owners to understand their finances.

With so many different apps on the market, it can be hard to know which one is the best fit for you. Select compared over a dozen options when rating the best free budgeting tools, and we found that the most popular ones have nearly 5 out of 5-star ratings and thousands of customer reviews.

We ranked GnuCash as the best desktop budgeting software for small business owners. GnuCash is a free software that uses a double-entry accounting method, making it a good option for small business owners trying to manage invoicing, bill payment and payroll.

Below, we review GnuCash to give you all the details on its features, including the tools, perks, safety, pricing, availability and ratings so you can decide if it’s the right choice for managing your money.

GnuCash Review

GnuCash

Information about GnuCash has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by GnuCash prior to publication.

  • Cost

  • Standout features

    Desktop software that uses double-entry accounting method to tracks users’ bank accounts, income, expenses and investments. It also offers basic accounting functionality for small businesses to manage invoicing, bill payment and payroll

  • Categorizes your expenses

  • Links to accounts

    Allows users to import their bank account information

  • Availability

    Compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, GNU/Linux, BSD and Solaris, as well as an app for Android users

  • Security features

    GnuCash is not an online, cloud-based program so no one has physical access to your data; the software runs on your computer and your data lives wherever you store it, such as on your desktop, a hard drive or Dropbox

Pros

  • Free to use
  • Compatible with most computers
  • Good accounting option for startups and small businesses with limited budgets
  • Offers helpful data visualization of your budget with graphs and reports
  • Available in multiple languages and tracks multiple currencies
  • Website offers an extensive FAQ section for user support
  • Users can create recurring transactions and set reminders when things are due
  • Finder tool allows users to easily search for specific transactions
  • Security features include not being an online, cloud-based program

Cons

  • Double-entry accounting method used may be more helpful for small business owners versus individuals trying to manage a budget
  • Desktop software interface looks outdated

Budgeting tools

GnuCash is budgeting software based on the double-entry system of accounting, where every transaction must debit one account and credit another one. The program can be used to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses, and it allows users to import their bank account information so they don’t have to enter their information manually.

Perks

GnuCash is a good accounting option for startups and small businesses with limited budgets. It offers multiple unique features such as data visualization of your budget with graphs and reports, the ability to set reminders for certain transactions, an account reconciliation tool that lets users to compare transactions entered in an account against a bank statement, and a transaction finder that allows users to search for specific transactions. GnuCash also offers specific small business accounting features like invoicing, accounts payable and accounts receivable and payroll management.

GnuCash is also available in multiple languages and tracks multiple currencies. If you have trouble using the software, the website offers an extensive FAQ section for user support.

Safety

GnuCash is not an online, cloud-based program so no one has physical access to your data. The software runs on your computer and your data lives wherever you store it, such as on your desktop, a hard drive or Dropbox.

Pricing

GnuCash is a completely free way to start budgeting.

Availability and ratings

GnuCash is available as a desktop software and as an app on some smartphone devices. GnuCash is compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, GNU/Linux, BSD and Solaris. The app is available in the Google Play store (for Android).

Rating on Google Play at time of writing: 4.6 out of 5 (over 1,000 ratings)

Bottom line

Our methodology

To determine which free budgeting tools offer the best user experience, Select analyzed over a dozen different budgeting tools and looked at their features and user reviews.

We narrowed down our ranking by looking for at least one pick in each of the following categories: spreadsheets, desktop software and smartphone apps. We wanted variety in the ways users can build their budget, and we ranked each tool by who it is best designed for (anyone, beginners, investors or small business owners).

The five tools we selected for this ranking are all free and easy to use. For our selection, we also favored budgeting tools that have strong user reviews.

Other factors we looked at included the security features, user customization and illustrative data insight, such as graphs and reports, that are available.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.